A publication about being strong [metaphorical, physical].
Ask A Swole Woman
The discerning person’s guide to plateaus
When you can’t lift any more—how do you lift more?
['Can't Hardly Wait' voice] Totally Gwyneth
Lifting more than Arnold; throwing a garbage bin; a gym for your feelings? This is Link Letter 77.
The hidden problem of muscle loss x weight-loss drugs
A beautiful gym; telehealth ketamine; body by pancake. This is Link Letter 76!
The yassification of Ozempic
No bigger red flag than describing a weight-loss trend as something "everyone" is doing.
The good powder (snow) the bad powder (erythritol) and the ugly powder (kratom)
What happens when you lose ten pounds in a week; ultra-processed foods exposed; do not work out on kratom. This is Link Letter 75!
Videos of yourself contain a different truth
Shy-girl workouts; an enigmatic cliff-diver; love song of a disembodied head in a jar. This is Link Letter 74!
Run Fast Squat Heavy, Weeks 2-4
#GymCreeps TikTok is not here to save us
When there’s nothing left to burn, we eventually set each other on fire.
What is it about sets of three?
Except when you have to do five. Plus: the swole women of Sparta; Tracy Anderson's "cutthroat empire"; skip the long run. This is Link Letter 73!
Fact-checking the New York Times’s core workout
Plus: The hour 'twixt "babe" and "hag"; I for one welcome our now new protein franken-animal overlords; the teens are drinking "borg." This is Link Letter 72!
What makes lifting "dangerous" for everyone, including older people
Squats are good for your knees, presses are good for your shoulders, deadlifts are good for your back. We are just not used to thinking about working out in all the ways we need to.
The "Run Fast/Squat Heavy" diaries
Plus: haunches, "almond moms," an extremely through benching guide, and Mounjaro. This is Link Letter 71!
Week 1: Run Fast/Squat Heavy
The purity of being bad at something, alone.
Sports vs. Predators
The problem with rooting around for "damage" in strength athletes. Plus: toxic cycling communities, "age reversal," TikTok is fake. This is Link Letter 70!
My sport says I weigh too much
Rock climbing, cycling, gymnastics, dance, and lots of other sports fixate on low body weight as the key to sports performance. Here comes the hammer
A brush with the hustle grindset
Plus: Do "greens" powders work, wearing helmets, art tours, focusing like it's 1990. This is Link Letter [cough] 69!
What’s so bad about HIIT? (Kayla Itsines version)
Plus: Zadie Smith is Noticing women's biceps, Remi Bader tried semaglutide, and broccoli pesto pasta. This is Link Letter 68!
The deal with Kayla Itsines
And the limits of saying you want to “help women."
Happy 2023! Plus: let something go, Kate Winslet corrects the record, what it means to really, truly rest. This is Link Letter 67!
Play the hits, Swole Woman (2022 edition)
This set of links is a combination of 2022’s biggest hits, and some stuff you might find most needful at this time of year.
What to do when the clothes are too small
The Torment Nexus of old clothes, the onslaught of the passage of time, and how to not feel bad about feeling bad.
Your neighborhood everyday non-super hero
Revisiting the OG Spider-Mans, plus: She's A Beast New Year's Sale!, why Rogan hates The Rock now, and a swole nativity scene. This is Link Letter 66!
Go ahead: assume they are on steroids
The bad actors love all the attention. Plus: Kirstie Alley, why you love your AI portraits, and one week til PLATESLAM!! This is Link Letter 65.
On pushing yourself
Pain; achievement; embodiment; resilience; fat bears.
I Hate This Fucking Pan
The calorie-phobia of "nonstick", plus: I AM WRITING A BOOK!, the Liver King's PED regimen, a coziness manifesto. This is Link Letter 64!
What it means when you hear "don't lift more than X pounds"
It probably doesn't mean "don't lift ever again, period." It also doesn't mean 10, 20, or 50 pounds is dangerous for everyone else.
Let's take down the "hormone-balancing workout/diet" scam
Plus: ENTER MARY, accountability coaches find a new direction, the Barkley Marathon. This is Link Letter 63!
A whole chicken contains multitudes
Notes on eating a whole rotisserie chicken, plus: to delay death, lift weights; "selling sex"; I am in my gruel era. This is Link Letter 62!
Accessory moves that everyone should like and do more, in my opinion
Including one that has unduly suffered for too long at the hands of "the glute guy."
Rest in pieces, the "beach body"
Plus: PLATESLAM 2022 COMETH; swearing makes you fitter (no questions), and whether sour candy "improves your workout." This is Link Letter 61!
What 15 pounds of muscle ACTUALLY looks like
Suck it, every breathless hype cycle for celebrity transformations for superhero roles. Plus: personality change, whether "thin is in again" 🙄 and a cinnamon cake.
What it means when Lenny Kravitz does high reps with low weights
Should we all do as Lenny Kravitz does, if want to look like him?
The problem with Dr. Oz
Plus: a post on Lenny Kravitz's dumbbells is on its way!, a set of Barbie weights I don't totally hate, "you don't look anorexic." This is Link Letter 59!
Watch along: 'Pumping Iron II: The Women'
A little mini podcast about why I love this doc, plus audio commentary for you to listen to while you watch on your own!
How to set up a home tinygym
Plus: why athletes should not "drop the routine", eating $28 worth of Taco Bell, and my final word on plate-facing. This is Link Letter 58!
How to be okay with starting all over again, part two
"I recently have been through some health issues I never saw coming. It's really difficult to accept that it's where I'm at at the moment. Is there still gratification to found in there?"
LA gyms are like this; NYC gyms are like that
Finding a gym is a skill. Plus: The Woman King takedown move, the Brad Pitt Fight Club body explained, and "eat foods that you enjoy." This is Link Letter 57!
Be as the hawk in the trash can
Lessons from a hawk and a stone skipper, plus: doing calf raises under your desk to "burn calories," "high value women," and cork dumbbells. This is Link Letter 56!
How to bulk like an even bigger beautiful horse
Bulking was one of the best gifts I've ever given myself.
In which I am forced to address the gut biome (and lifting)
The gut biome, it tolls for thee! Plus: How Viola Davis got ripped (actually); the last video on bracing you hopefully ever have to watch, amen; and the 2022 She's A Beast Reader survey. This is Link Letter 55!
The simple answer to "can I lift weights barefoot?"
Plus: Learning to lift is like falling in love, the ugly truth about getting shredded, and why you should not "start each deadlift in a squatting position", for the love of all that is holy. This is Link Letter 54!
Why the popularity of "low-impact exercise" continues to chap my ass
"Low-impact" does not actually mean "easy": The false promises of the yogas, barres, spinnings, golfs, and HIIT circuits of the world.
The Munchausen's by proxy [derogatory] of women's wellness startups
A woman who smashed a firefighter test record, Kim photoshopping her traps, and the specific struggle of not looking like you lift. This is Link Letter 53!
Your body is not smart and it needs you
A Try Guy Tries Strength Training, why body fat doesn't prevent your body from eating its muscles, and Man at the Crossroads. This is Link Letter 52!
The New York Times makes a dangerous suggestion in its strength training guide
Happy Birthday, She's A Beast. We have a big discount available early to subscribers, plus: strength training makes you smart, gym-ing on a road trip, (sigh) Brad Pitt's Fight Club body. This is Links 51!
The Last Article on Protein Powder You Will Hopefully Ever Have to Read, Amen
Which protein powders and why, plus how, when, how much, and as always, what not to worry about. Plus a few recipes.
A gym should be like a toy store, not a museum
Plus: a study on caffeine and periods AND strength training; a powerbuilding guide; takedowns of the new weight loss drugs. This is the big 5-0 for Link Letters!
Being 'Being John Malkovich'
If they made 'Being John Malkovich' today, who would it be instead of John Malkovich? Am I, or was I, supposed to know who that is, or was, or not?
The problem with "it worked for me"
Don't defend brands with your chest like that, plus: a map of the body's muscles; Doja Cat is going for gains; how being a "food person" can reinforce disordered behavior. This is Links 49, now on Ghost!
Welcome to Ghost!
If you’ve clicked any www.shesabeast.co links in the last couple of days you might already have noticed this, but She’s A Beast has officially moved off Substack [weird] and onto Ghost! My aim is to make this as seamless as possible for you, my beloved readers.
What Tim Ferriss got wrong (and right) about lifting, food, and bodies in The 4-Hour Body
Revisiting the book that spawned a decade of "stacks," ice baths, redpill bros, and confusion on the forums.
It actually DOES matter that you lift heavy weights
Building size vs. strength, plus: the Big Beautiful Horse Shirt; how to stop hating salads; a very brief ode to the $9 half-gallon water jug. This is Links 48!
All the artist girlies are deadlifting
How to learn to deadlift, plus: a new destination mega-gym, whether all our protein is killing the environment, and the joy of stretching. This is Links 47!
How to escape the gravity well of "not working out"
What NASA and Kim Kardashian (HEAR ME OUT) have to teach us about the process of doing deceptively hard things.
How to start going to the gym, part three: how much weight to use
Plus: the mystery of Elon's torso and the tyranny of Silicon Valley biohacking; Lorde and Kristin from Laguna Beach are deadlifting baby!!; Lululemon is unionizing. This is Links 46!
Tell a REAL gym story
How to start going to the gym, part two: the pre-production dry run
Plus: how to spot a fake gym clout-chaser on TikTok; weaponizing your inner monologue; Meryl Streep's one weird trick. This is Links 45!
How do I know when it's time to deload?
How deload? What deload? But most importantly, WHY deload. This is the guide to taking a longer period of (measured) rest in lifting.
How to start going to the gym, part one: The case for the gym visit
Plus: the case for the supermarket as a place to hang out, Smith machine circus antics, and DFW on Hot Ones. This is Links 44!
Take a deep breath. Really hit the back walls of your lungs
Orlando Bloom's cheater curls, the guy who started Hawaiian Tropic, and Playgrounds by West Elm x Restoration Hardware. This is Links 43!
The high-strung perfectionist’s guide to dealing with injury
Whether you've been injured a lot before or never at all, it's not just the pain that hurts.
How to get arms like Natalie Portman
I've wanted to write a piece like this for a long time, but, you know, real. Plus: Normal Gossip, carrying your kids to safety, and the Daily Harvest food-poisoning scandal. This is Links 42!
What finally unlocked a lift for you?
Eight things I've learned from eight years of lifting
Plus: Much-sought-after commentary on Meek Mill's overhead press, an r/theydidthemath on Atlas stones, and hammies for the mammies. This is Links 41!
If any fitness fad was going to succeed, it would have been Curves
Curves blazed the trail for "bargain fitness for the harried mom." Little did we know, 20 years later, we'd all be in desperate need of a bargain, and we'd be the most harried moms of all.
The magic protein ratio
Or as I call it, the 1% milk rule. Also: embracing post-competition emptiness, lifting in a barn, and the 'Life is Good' guy. This is Links 40!
UNLOCKED: How to eat like a big beautiful horse
By popular demand!
I just do things scared
My take on the She-Hulk trailer, the swimmers' body fallacy, the myth of "constant tension," and TOO MUCH more (open in tab!). This is Links 39.
How much do you pay for your gym?
What if it takes a long time until I get a snack?
Hilary Duff is lifting weights; "greens" and "reds" powders turn out to be fake; and Joe Rogan's dwindling fandom is in dire straits. That rhymed, this is Links 38!
The spring 2022 cutting recap
The things I forgot, wish I'd known, and am glad I didn't do.
Laughing along with your friend's fat jokes in the paper of record
Plus: romanticizing your life, scapular pushups, a growing Kayla Itsines backlash, and more. This is Links 37!
At what point is someone actually "strong" and "good"?
I'm just trying to have a body
And everyone's having an impossible time being okay with that! Additionally, Kim K, IPF Worlds is gonna hit, and the L**** K***. Links 36!
How to feel like a big beautiful horse
I want buns of steel, but also buns of cinnamon. Capitalism tells me I should have both, but can have neither. You may ask the buns one question.
Honey, use those legs. If he dies he dies
Additionally: the Crossfit Survivor Games, the dearth of beginner workout content, lipo-etched abs exposed, and more. Welcome to Links 35!
Share your setup: How do you track your workouts?
Okay: Blogilates' muscle-building journey DID have some good lessons (part two)
Whether she actually saw them, we'll never know. Plus: intermittent fasting has no "biological benefits," people are over Peloton, and Natalie Portman has guns. This is Links 34!
Returning to the gym? Here is how much weight to use
Some advice for any length of interruption, be it one workout or several months. Advice for LIFTOFF doers, too!
Something doesn't add up about this Noom ad
Searching for "Noelle, the award-winning weightlifter" of a mysterious Noom campaign. Plus, an actual new protein intake tip, intentional dysentery, and failing skateboarders. Links 33!
Write a letter to your hater
I hate the 'exercise snack'
*curling Arthur fist* plus, how eating 'healthy' can hurt performance, solo vs. group workouts, a barbell backflip, and more. Links 32!
When do I call in a wellness check on my disordered friend?
A biased guide from a former “disordered friend,” perpetual self-harm observer, eternal fixer-not-listener
You can hide your stress from anything except your weights
Plus: the workout I do when life has me by the throat, women peeing when they lift, and tampon books. Links 31!
The first time you remember feeling like, "f*** yeah, I'm strong"
Why I stand with one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight (sometimes)
Gee, my explore page has substantially changed since Instagram got in trouble for ruining teens' lives! Plus, good squat guides and a Sha'Carri documentary. This is Links 30.
The Pull-up Protocol
How to build toward a pull-up and do lots of valuable pulling work, without resting your happiness on a pull-up.
Hold on: Why do we want to do pull-ups?
An interrogation of everyone's favorite fitness goal, plus a guide to cardio for people who hate cardio, Arnold Schwarzenegger massaging Lucille Ball, THAT teen girl Vanity Fair cover. Links 29!
What have you tried that turned out to be a waste of time?
Why elite athletes can't help you with becoming great
Plus: Bigorexia, the most enduring scam in fitness history, and a PED-less (maybe?) Batman physique. This is Links 28!
So 'weight loss' is bad, but 'cutting body fat' is fine? Explain yourself immediately
On loving yourself, caloric deficits, and whether those two things can ever coincide.
A TikTok meathead tried to own a woman, but he went too far
Can you beat everyone at the gym in this large-format thumb wrestling? Can a leg press ever target the hamstrings? Can anyone get stronger in three seconds a day? All this and more in Links 27.
What ACTUALLY keeps you going?
Normally these threads are for paid subscribers only, but I’m opening this one up to everyone! Last night I was thinking about how not a single person on this Earth has ever actually gotten shredded abs in two weeks, or lost ten pounds in a week (not in a
If you do athletics, you're an athlete
Plus: a scientifically designed minimum lifting routine, the 'Nintendo Generation' has 'weak skeletons,' and I'm gatekeeping donuts. This is Links 26.
How to eat like a big beautiful horse
I've been on the "eating more" grind for years now; here is every tip I've fought to learn along the way.
Why you can't build muscle on 1500 calories per day: the Blogilates muscle building journey, part one
Here's how Blogilates could "gain 6.3 pounds of muscle in a month", plus: junk volume, "sustainable" leggings, "actually"ing Sha'Carri Richardson. Lotta quotes! This is Links 25.
What was it like the first time you went to the gym?
Who's afraid of a "cookie cutter" workout program?
Swole Woman Court in the matter of Brittany Dawn, and fitness influencers offering fake "individualized" programs and meal plans. Plus: the Olympics, Peloton, and more. This is Links 24!
How do I get the cool strong girl in the gym to be my friend?
An ode to the ABC (Always Be Chatting) approach.
A strip mall with a gym and a Chipotle is my Disneyland
Alex, the peaceable bro of Summer House, plus: the Palestinian Chad, the drink buffet, and 17-year old girl benching 380 pounds. This is Links 23.
Going on a road trip; fast food proteins?
Time to put the 1200-calorie diet in the grave
Instead, let us focus on leg days, strongman, our favorite Jamaican restaurant; anything else. This is Links 22!
My squat form is bad; am I doomed?
Squatting high? "Terrible" ankle mobility? It hurts all of a sudden? It was good, but now everything's gone wrong? Don't worry (yet); this is all part of the process.
Exactly how and why this dude who's mad at a fat fitness mag cover model is wrong
Rest in pieces, James Smith, plus: You need weights, not just protein; Lu raises; don't come between bros and their curls. This is Links 20.
How do I pick my accessory exercises?
The strength you build is yours, even if you don't do it forever: the evidence for 'muscle memory'
Plus: The conservatives are struggling, how to overcome weak points, and more. This is Links #19.
Is it possible to do intuitive eating and strength training at the same time?
Reviewing the particulars of Intuitive Eating, the 4th Edition, "gentle nutrition," and how these things can (or can't) square with getting stronger.
How to act normal in the gym
Swole Woman's Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the matter of asking to "work in," whether you were actually using those dumbbells, et al. This is Links #18.
Play the hits, Swole Woman
Here are all your favorites from the 5+ years of writing about strength, plus, because I can't resist, a few you might not have seen before.
The beauty of periodization
You can hear it in the silence; a 550-pound beltless deadlift PR; a new Biggest Loser finding; and Morpheus never lands this move. It's Links 16.
How did you overcome a plateau?
A merry PLATESLAM to all who celebrate!
Links #15: I made you a whole website about LIFTOFF; protein powder in coffee; financial workout incentives; the abandoned mansion that mesmerized me
A simple guide to periods, birth control, and strength training
Pull up a chair—there is much to know, much to know that we don't know, much to do, and maybe more importantly, much to not do.
Introducing noted powerlifter Lana Del Rey
Don't worry, we still know almost nothing about her. Plus: a subscription sale!!, here comes LIFTOFF!!! Peloton ~did not~ do that thing, and more. This is Links #14.
How do I find an actually good trainer/coach?
You don't want to 'lose weight,' Will Smith edition
48 percent of you are about to try and do it, though. Plus: the joyous lives of two strongmen, a chef's kiss Joe Rogan podcast parody, and we need to talk about Oprah. This is Links #13.
What is a Peloton supposed to do, exactly?
Peloton was sold on the hope that its continuous supply of connected infotainment would create customers for the long-term, which makes a fundamental mistake about how motivation works.
Confessions of a former playground adrenaline junkie
Is it possible to build more love for a certain kind of pain?
The Swole Woman Studio Beastly Starter Kit
People often ask "which ___ do you have?" This is the ___ I have.
What's the best thing that ever happened to you, or happened near you, in the gym?
What She-Hulk could have looked like
Plus: wrinkles make us look alive, the IOC stands down, which spin bike is the Jazzercise of our time, and ADELE! EATS! AND! LIFTS!!!!!!!
Notes on plate math and protein math, from a failed engineer
Plus: The first-ever She's A Beast merch, AND... a discount code.
"Lift with your legs, not your back"—respectfully: huh???
Links #11, including: doctors who say "if it hurts, don't do that" found bald; various forms of Longforms; the "exercise IS hard and some people will never like it" wars.
What part of lifting eludes you, no matter how hard you try?
Indeed, what do any of us eat in a day?
Links #10, including: powerlifting! on! Ellen!!!, the wrong place to bro down, protein pumpkin pancakes WITH flour, thank you VERY much, and: hangovers.
The Intermediate Programming Compendium
Your strength base is built, your beginner program is over, or maybe you're just wondering what the point of it all is. Here is your (mostly free) intermediate program compendium, organized by all the directions you can go with lifting weights.
The singular joy of a rep, or what we have to learn from the bros
And Links #9, including: the TikTok-viral 12/3/30 method, LeBron on a climbing machine, deepening your squat, and more.
Sunday Open Thread: What's your current program/goal?
Why would a ballet dancer lift weights?
Why exercise that makes you sore (like cardio) doesn't necessarily make you stronger, featuring an extended metaphor about paper, plus: hot swoalts, welcome to the PLATESLAM, and a useful hotline.
Is Adele okay?: An investigation
A journey into the heart of "weight"
The art, science, theory, and practice of perceiving yourself
Plus: protein cookie dough, the program I'm doing, my dads The Rock and Vin Diesel are fighting, and more.
Sunday Open Thread: short-on-protein tricks
What to do when the "what if I just... didn't?" question enters your brain
Links #6: An elite marathoner has to keep being a mom?? And #30secondsofpullups.
Yes, you have to learn to use your muscles, part 2
The reason you fear for your joints is that you fear too much for your joints, fear is the mindkiller, there is no spoon, and so on
Everyone is wrong about obesity, researchers recently decided
Links #5: a Bulgarian split squats trick, how to throw a punch with long nails, sauna suits, and "the jeans I wore at age 21."
Protein Oatmeal v2.0: Mush Reloaded
Finally explaining, in one place, all the ways I get 35-40g of protein in for breakfast.
'My boyfriend wanted me to go to the gym with him. I did, and now he's mad'
What happens when the gym bro finally gets everything he ever wants (a girlfriend who goes to the gym with him)?
Instagram is essentially a weight-loss app, and Facebook is loving that for it
Plus: Why 'The Glute Guy' is canceled, how to get your pull-up, and more.
Why it's hard to make fitness goals (and how to make it easier)
And why it's so hard to talk about it with your friends.
The myths of bodyweight training, part 3
Or, why it's hard to be hot without being strong (and why it's a mistake to want to be hot in the first place)
Why pay Noom's prices when any celebrity's Instagram will give you the same questionable advice for free?
Plus: Boohoo ended for body positivity by a "body positive" influencer, and old school lifting is juuust fine.